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Czech MotoGP: Lorenzo halts Honda run in first practice

Jorge Lorenzo fastest during Free Practice 1 for the Czech Republic MotoGP at Brno
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo began the Czech Republic MotoGP on top of the timesheets by totally dominating Friday's opening practice session at Brno.

The result ends a run of 13 consecutive track sessions (not including Q1 for non-top ten riders) led by Honda competitors - either rookie title leader Marc Marquez or LCR's Stefan Bradl - stretching back to Free Practice 2 at Laguna Seca.

Aided by a recent private Yamaha test at the circuit, Lorenzo led the session from start to finish, setting a best lap time of 1m 56.698s on his 15th and final lap.

That put the reigning double world champion 0.343s ahead of Marquez's Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa. Top satellite rider Cal Crutchlow - who took his first MotoGP podium at Brno last season - was third (+0.360s) for Tech 3 Yamaha and Marquez fourth (+0.422s).

Lorenzo is currently third in the standings and 35 points behind Marquez, winner of the last three races. Both Lorenzo and Pedrosa, 21 points from Marquez, are nearing full strength after mid-season collarbone injuries.

Pedrosa won last year's Brno race after a last corner showdown with Lorenzo.

Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi - also present at the test, the main aim of which was to develop the factory's seamless shift gearbox - held second place several times during the morning session on his way to fifth place (+0.545s), followed by a 0.4s gap to satellite Honda riders Alvaro Bautista and Bradl.

Andrea Dovizioso was the leading Ducati rider in eighth (+1.232s), with Tech 3 rookie Bradley Smith and the second factory Desmosedici of Nicky Hayden completing the top ten.

Pramac Ducati's Andrea Iannone placed eleventh, with stand-in team-mate Michele Pirro in twelfth. Pirro has been called-up to replace the newly re-injured Ben Spies.

Martin Bauer is making his MotoGP debut as a wild-card on a Suter-BMW for the Remus Racing Team, in the CRT class this weekend. Bauer, who has previously tested at Brno, claimed 22nd out of the 25 riders in FP1.

The Czech Republic Grand Prix is the second of three back-to-back races.

Free Practice 1:
1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Dani Pedrosa
3. Cal Crutchlow
4. Marc Marquez
5. Valentino Rossi
6. Alvaro Bautista
7. Stefan Bradl
8. Andrea Dovizioso
9. Bradley Smith
10. Nicky Hayden
11. Andrea Iannone
12. Michele Pirro
13. Aleix Espargaro
14. Hiroshi Aoyama
15. Colin Edwards
16. Hector Barbera
17. Claudio Corti
18. Yonny Hernandez
19. Danilo Petrucci
20. Karel Abraham
21. Randy De Puniet
22. Martin Bauer
23. Michael Laverty
24. Bryan Staring
25. Lukas Pesek

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August 23, 2013 10:30 AM

Everyone of course looks at the sharp end.... but anyone else noticed how RDP seems to be struggling lately? Ok, Aleix Espagaro has had the upper hand of the two - but not by much. That is until recent races when the gap seems markedly bigger. I'd have to wonder if (esp.since RDP has been testing the Suzuki) has RDP's level of support from the team been reduced? Seems weird that only he should lose quite so much competitiveness when the 2 riders always were a lot closer?

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